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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Vocabulary Lists vs Useful Words You Can Use Frequently

Hi. It has been a little while since I have posted. I know that we have set learning new vocabulary as one of our primary goals this term - both to help in writing and reading. Now there are many ways to learn and retain vocabulary, but one of the least successful is to simply memorize vocabulary from lists. In order to really learn a new word, you need to use it a minimum of seven to ten times very shortly after you learn it. 

Using new vocabulary does simply mean repeating it, or writing it out seven times. It means using it within a context that helps you to "internalize" it.   I am discussing this because I know some of you have wanted "lists."  There are a number of "lists" out there. There is the Academic Word List, AWL , GMAT list, The SAT list the GE.list, etc. Some of them are set up in groups of 20 for your learning pleasure. Some of them go by word family. Feel free to look at them, but be careful about simply memorizing lists and words. One thing you can do is what I showed you in class yesterday. Determine if it is likely to be useful for you to use in your speaking, reading and writing. 

For example if you see the word "stipulate:" on the list, try to find out if this will be a useful word, or whether it will simply a word to memorize for a test. You can go to this dictionary site, or to something called a concordancer which has almost every word used in print put into a data bank and analyzed by how it is used.  The dictionary site I used is    www.yourdictionary.com/

To stipulate means: "to make a demand as a condition as a requisite in an agreement" . Now, does this look like something you might want to use in your writing, or actively need in your reading. With the same dictionary, go to the "example sentences" button.Click it and see what you get.You will get a whole list of sentences like this in which the word  stipulate is used as a verb, an adjective or a passive word, with half sentences after it. 
  • stipulates a deadline for delivery for each possible type of agent efficiency.
  • stipulates who the bank will and will not finance, as directed by customers.
  • Answer 1: No. Law 7 clearly stipulates that each half must be of equal periods of time.
  • stipulate in the constitution charter additional benefit consisting of work or personal services of the partners.
  • stipulated residence limits.
  • stipulated which product they want.
  • stipulated by the manufacturer " .
  • stipulated in paragraph 36 of the Schedule.
Look at the list, read the sentences and determine whether you can use it with many words, and would actually use it. Then, learn it and use with those specific expressions..

Now take take the word envrironment, which is on our list this week.
A "new" word wall in a class room
Most of you only know this word in relation to the word pollution and clean up the environment. However, it is frequently used in many other ways, for example work environment, learning environment, historic environment, natural,. or safe environment, healthy / unhealthy environment, supportiveunsupportive environment, family environment, relaxing, helpful, calm, quiet or noisy     environment, business environment, economic environment, etc. etc. If you looked at a r environment, eal collocations dictionary, you would find that this is a very high usage word which is often used with a specific adjective in front of it , specifying what kind of environment you are talking or writing about.  

Knowing that you can use a word in many different ways, in many different contexts makes it very obvious that tthis would be a useful word to learn in ALL its contexts.  This means learning it as phrases. Saying as phrases as often as you can, working it as phrases, also as often as you can. Looking for the phrases in whatever you read. Once you have determined you are going to learn a phrase - and learning phrases or chunks is much more useful and helpful than learning words in isolation ( see, that is one of our words this week). You are more likely to actually remember phrases much better than a word alone. 
  • still, in today's work environment you need a notebook.
  • We need to protect the environment for the next generation.
  • Highway authorities are required to protect the historic environment from the worst effects of traffic.
  • The virtual learning environment must be approached by learners equipped with far more than a belief in serendipity.
  • The superb natural environment at Newton Park lakes, streams, grasslands, woods provide a unique base for study.
  • You are under an obligation to provide employees with a safe working environment.
  • Secure by design: a UK police initiative designed to help create safer, more secure environments.
  • The nursing team offer a friendly and relaxed environment in which to gain skills and fully develop as a cancer nurse.
  • They are a safe, caring and supportive environment where I have opened up and shared, without feeling judged.
  • The NVQ in Administration is designed to give people the required skill to work in an office environment.
  • This could either be in the form of reducing bills or further schemes to improve the environment.
  • The virtual learning environment must be approached by learners equipped with far more than a belief in serendipity.
  • They have been designed for high usage business environments.
So..... go to and check it out. Also, have a look at what this specific online dictionary offers you, a thesaurus, grammar, ESL stuff, answers to many questions and much, much more. 
In my next post, I want to ask you some questions, using the vocabulary words we are learning this week?


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